The long-awaited report of the Australian Human Rights Commission into workplace sexual harassment has just been released. It marks a paradigm shift in the way combatting sexual harassment should be addressed and in many ways is a world first.
In essence, it posits that employers should owe a legal duty of care to all employees to ensure as far as possible that the workplace is free of sexist behaviour, harassment and physical assaults.
Highlights amongst the recommendations include: amending the Sex Discrimination Act to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate sex discrimination, harassment and victimisation; granting unions and other representative bodies the right to bring representative sexual harassment cases; giving the AHRC investigative powers; creating a “stop sexual harassment order” similar to the “stop bullying order” under the Fair Work Act .
This approach is consistent with the one Symmetra has been advocating for workplace harassment prevention some time and is aligned with Symmetra’s harassment and bullying training program that emphasises improving workplace inclusion, promoting a speak-up culture and motivating and empowering bystanders as the best way to address this blight on our workplaces.